|This is one of three possible versions of "The Open Sea" entered as part of the task "Hired Hands on the Open Sea" (in this version, you'll be defending a merchant ship from pirates).
This is one of two possible versions of "The Open Sea" entered as part of the task "Protect My Ship" (in which you, again, defend a merchant ship from pirates).
This is also the only version of "The Open Sea" entered as part of the task "Pirating Ways" (in which you assist a pirate ship in taking over a merchant ship).
Note that there may be slight variance with regard to which NPCs appear and where in the zone they are (depending on which task you have), but overall, the zone is mostly the same for each task. In all cases, all NPCs (except for those who you have to speak with) are attackable, even those you're meant to help or defend.